A HOME OFFICE VERSUS AN OFF-SITE OFFICE
Which office type is best for your business?
Every company or business establishment have their own office space where customers or potential clients visit them to conduct business. An office is a place where all professional matters are handled and any business transactions are conducted. Having an office premise gives a professional image to a business and is preferable for many small business owners.However, some people find working at an office inconvenient whether from commuting time, restricted opening hours if the office is within a shared building etc. Or, they may simply not be able to afford the premises. Therefore, many small business owners decide to run their business from a home office.
How do you choose?
Working from Home
Home-based business owners set-up their home office where they handle all work-related tasks. In fact, most set-up their own home office where they can entertain clients and business associates at home. Many find this a convenient set-up since they can attend to their work while being able to still spend time with their family.
However, the accessibility of the comforts available within your home, it is easy to fall into the wrong idea that you are not working. Hence, you need to develop a sound level of self-discipline in order to separate business from pleasure and focus on what you need to do at work.
Which is better?
There are several considerations that one has to make before deciding whether to opt for a home office or an off-site office instead. Each one has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is difficult to conclude that one is the better option over the other. The best way for you to decide is to come up with a checklist of these pros and cons. Then, determine whether the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa.
Also, you need to consider your own attitude towards work. If you are the type of person who had to be constantly reminded and lacks the initiative to work on their own, then setting up a home office could be a devastating idea. Below are a list of pro’s and con’s that would help you come up with a decision.
Home office: Pro’s and Con’s
- You have more freedom of flexibility in terms of working hours.
- You can reduce costs such as office rental, fuel usage (from driving to and from the office), and tax deductions.
- It is convenient since you won’t have to dress up just to get to work. You can have your breakfast or spend time with your family and then conveniently check your email.
- If you’re the type who needs to get motivated to work, a home office might not be conducive to you getting your work done.
- There are a lot of potential interruptions at home.
- There are a lot of home office considerations to make such as securing all office equipment you need at home, office furniture, and some other operational needs.
Off-site office: Pro’s and Con’s
- The level of pressure and urgency motivates you to produce quality work.
- The working environment is ideally designed to make working easier for you.
- You have access to all of the equipment or tools you need to conduct your work.
- You have to commute from and to work daily. It becomes more difficult for those who live far from the office.
- Dealing with other workers within the building can be difficult for some, especially with clashing interests and personalities.
- The expense or renting the premises
The decision is now yours as to which is best for you and your business. Whichever you choose, ensure you have everything you need to hand in your premises and make it a professional, yet comfortable place to work.
Do you suffer Bright Shiny Object syndrome?
You know the feeling. You are in the middle of something, maybe doing some research on a project you are working on. And then you see it. First a little twinkle out the corner of your eye. And then it turns into this wonderful bright shiny object that simply demands your attention.
We’ve all been there. And this Bright Shiny Object is the best thing since sliced bread. Until ….. you see another one. Oh, what to do. So many shiny things to chase after!!!!
Now, these distractions can be just for a few minutes. Even in this situation, you are going to lose so much time trying to refocus on what you were originally working on. But the worst case is when this takes you down a new track and you leave your old plans unfinished.
The danger point is that you keep chasing new things and never actually complete anything. Therefore, you never get the results you set out to achieve and so the vicious cycle of chasing another BSO continues.
Here are my three top tips to help deal with the distractions.
Determine your end goal
Firstly, what is your end goal? Keep looking at your plan and make sure that everything you do takes you towards to your goal, not away from it. It is too easy to get side tracked and led astray so by referring to your plan on a regular basis you can make sure you keep on track and focused on what you ultimately want to achieve.
Yes, you are bound to get caught up with other ideas as you grow your business, but if you keep stopping and starting something new, you will never get anything finished. You will end up confusing yourself and ultimately, your clients!!
Commit the bright shiny object to paper
Whenever you have a new idea pop up, write it down. Have an ideas book or board. Pop everything on here. And then sit on it!! Wait for a few days at least and then come back to it. Does it still look so attractive? Are you still fired up by it? Is it going to take you closer to your end goal or is just a distraction?
Make a date in your diary
If you decide you still want to go ahead with it, don’t start until you have finished what you were working on before this new idea came up. Your old idea will have been important enough for you to start on, so make sure you complete that first. You may just find that when you have completed what you were already working on, you have found yet another bright shiny object and so your last idea has lost its attraction.
Focus on one thing at a time, do it, and do it well. Then you can move on to the next.
Do you suffer from BSO syndrome? Share with me in the comments below.
Would you love to start a business but don’t think it’s possible?
Have you always dreamt of setting up your own business but the thought of entering the big wide world of entrepreneurship simply scares you more than Freddy Kruger popping in for supper on Friday 13th?
Would you love to escape the humdrum of working 9 to 5, being told where to be at what time, when you can eat and when you are allowed to take much needed time off with your family?
Well, your dream to start a business needn’t be so scary. In fact, whilst it will undoubtedly be hard work, it can also be quite exciting and give a new lease of life that leaves you energised and looking forward to each day.
But first things first. There are a few things to consider if you want to make your journey as smooth as possible and go from fearful to fabulous.
What’s your passion?
The start-up businesses that have the best chance of success are those that are based on a passion that will carry you through the difficult times. Doing something you love day in and day out doesn’t feel like work. It feels like fulfilment.
So, think hard about what you love doing. What can you see yourself doing in 10 years and still loving?
What are you good at?
Now here is the tough question! What are you good at? It’s no good having a passion for something but not being very good at it. People simply won’t part with their hard-earned cash.
Putting passion and talent together, I know that I love walking my dog, but keeping her under control is a challenge and I am sure if I tried to start a dog walking business, my passion would turn into a chore. You need to think about this carefully. It’s no use starting a gourmet burger bar if your cooking skills are akin to flipping burgers at McDonalds, no matter how much you love being in the kitchen.
What will people pay for?
The third piece of the start a business jigsaw is considering what people will pay for, and enough people to make you a profit. You may love crocheting tea cosy’s but if everyone is now making individual cups of tea rather than using a tea pot, you are not going to make any money from your business idea.
I started my business consultancy because I have an absolute passion for helping other women build a life and income stream that gives them the freedom to do what they have always dreamt of. I knew I was good at this as I had a proven track record of helping hundreds of people start up and build their own successful business. And I knew that if people were serious about their business, they would willingly pay to get the help and support they needed to kickstart their success.
So now you have your idea to start a business. But what next? There are a few key steps you need to take if you really want to give yourself the best chance of success.
The first step is self-belief. You must:
- Believe you are good enough
- Believe what you sell is worth it
- Believe that your clients will gladly pay you
Because quite simply if you don’t believe in yourself and what you are doing, then why the hell should anyone else? This can be a real challenge for women starting their business so take the time to write down all things you have achieved in your life, all the compliments you have received, qualifications you have gained etc. Look at this on a regular basis and start to believe in yourself.
Create a plan
Remember the adage ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’. Yes? Well it applies to you when you start a business.
It’s all too easy to become so enthused and excited about your new idea that you dive in without any real thought and planning. This invariably leads to a rude awakening down the line.
You need to plan:
- How much you want to earn
- Your capacity for how much you can make
- What hours you are going to work
- Who you need to help you and what resources you need
- How much it is going to cost to get your idea off the ground and to keep it running
- What you are going to charge
- How much profit you will make (and will this be enough for you to live off)
- How you are going to be better and/or different from your competitors to stand out from the crowd
- Who is going to buy your product or service and how you are going to get them to know about it
- How you are going to take payment and deliver to your customer
Test your idea
To minimize the risk of failure, try testing your business idea out on a small scale before going all in. This will provide you with valuable feedback as to whether others love your idea as much as you do and if they are willing to pay for it. You can then tweak your idea if necessary and minimise the risk of a spending far too much blood, sweat and tears on something that simply isn’t going to work.
If you are currently in a day job, by testing your idea out of working hours on a smaller scale, you can continue to earn a salary to pay your household bills each month and ease the financial pressure whilst getting your business off the ground.
If you’re serious about starting your own business and making it a success, find yourself someone who has been there and done it and made it a success to help you on your path. Trying to go it alone will be both be lonely and quite likely a very expensive mistake. Find someone with the experience and independent perspective to help you steer clear of the numerous start-up mistakes so many make.
If you follow these top tips then you can start a business. It ain’t gonna be easy. It’s going to be a rollercoaster of a ride. I remember the days of going from a feeling of euphoria that I was going to be a millionaire by the end of the year to the depths of despair that I was going to be bankrupt by the end of the month all in the space of 5 minutes! But if you are brave enough to hang on tight, you will make it to the end and the feeling of achievement will be worth every single bit.
There is nothing better than working on your terms, at the hours you want, and setting your own ceiling of income to live the life you have always dreamt of.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I have survived the hard times. I now have a business and life that I simply love and could not be happier. If you would like me to help you build the same for yourself, take a look at all The Small Business Kit has to offer.
Recently in my Facebook group, I asked the fabulous ladies what piece of advice they would you give to someone starting their business today. There were some great answers so I thought I would share them with you here today.
- Be consistent and positive at all times
- Failure is natural and part of the process. Learn from it and do things better next time! 🙂
- Enjoy it. Be patient, it won’t happen overnight
- Be sure that there is a niche in the market for your product or service and be different!
- Research, research, research.
- Join groups like this one as going it alone never works.
- Cultivate the art of patience, have an open mind, learn new things and remain flexible
- Make sure you have a solid foundation first before you to try to run & lots of patience
- Ensure you absolutely love the product or service you are offering, otherwise it will never reach it’s potential!
- Trust your gut, even when ‘experts,’ can’t see what you can see!
- Find your tribe – we all need people to support and believe in us. Appreciate them hard!
- Be the person that you want to be, act as if you’ve already achieved everything you want
- Accept every offer of help that you are given, it’s tough going solo.
- Don’t buy crap you don’t need.
- Get one package done really well before branching out.
- Focus on one social media platform.
- Surround yourself with brilliant people.
- Spend time on your business from the start. Get great systems and take note of everything you do. It’s amazing how fast we forget how we started.
Feel free to add your own piece of advice that you would give to someone starting out in the comments box below.
There are three key things you need to build a successful business:
If any one of these is lacking, it is going to need to be made up for in one of the other areas.
Let’s take a look at them one at a time.
Building a successful business takes time. And it is likely to take a lot longer than you think. All too often we set up our small business thinking we are going to be drawing a full time wage within a month or so. All too often the reality is different. We end up working for nothing for the first 12 months or just drawing a paltry sum that barely covers a pair of tights each month.
And on the subject of time, everything we do seems to take longer than expected. I will just write a quick blog I hear you say. And three hours later you are still staring at a blank screen. I will just make a quick update to my website I hear you say. And two weeks later you are still playing around with the design and the layout. I will quickly set up a mailing system I hear you say. And days later you are still tearing your hair out and wondering what the hell everyone else is on it about when they say it is all so easy.
If you don’t have time, you are going to have invest money to make up for it. You are going to have to spend money on marketing rather than trying to do everything for free on social media. You are going to have to spend money outsourcing all those tasks that are eating up the precious hours in your day.
You are going to need massive amounts of energy to build your own business. The time it takes will easily leave you feeling drained and exhausted and it will be all too easy to feel like throwing in the towel.
One of the dangers of building a business, particularly when working from home, is that we let healthy habits slip. We stop taking exercise as we just want to get one more task squeezed into the day. We stop eating healthily and grab chocolate bars and coffee whilst chained to our computer screens.
This soon leaves us feeling sluggish and out of kilter.
To build a successful business, you need to take of yourself first and foremost and keep your energy levels up. You need to take regular exercise, you need to keep healthy and you need to get enough sleep. If you energy levels drain, you will end up either ill or having to take time out to recharge the batteries.
If you don’t have energy, it is going to cost you more in time and money. It will take more time to build your business or you will have to invest more money to get someone to take over your work for you.
Yes, you are going to have to invest some money! I’m sorry to break the bad news to you but those get rich quick schemes where you only have to put in a few pounds or dollars up front just don’t work. I have had numerous people send me their schemes but when I ask to see their bank details or profit and loss statement to validate their claims, they disappear into the mist never to be heard of again.
You need to invest in the tools to do the job. You can get many free versions of systems and software, but if you really want to build your business, it is the paid versions that you need. You need to invest in yourself and the businesses that really move forward faster than the others invest in a coach. I invested in thousands for a coach for myself. Even though I am a business coach, I still need someone to help me with new ideas and to hold me accountable for achieving results. Without this, my business would have taken vastly longer to be successful.
If you don’t invest money it is going to cost you more time and energy. You can try to build a business on a shoestring but you are likely to end up just running a very expensive hobby for many years to come. And more time is going to take more energy. You really need to look at the potential return on investment and savings in time and energy rather than holding on those purse strings.
Do you have these three key areas covered or is the lack of one of these hampering your success? Let me know in the comments below.
10 top tips for running a home business
Running a home business has a whole set of challenges of its own. You are solely responsible for being disciplined in your work and not drifting off to do a spot of housework or accepting friends in for coffee who turn up on your doorstep.
If you are running a home business, here are my top 10 tips to help make the difference between treating your business in a professional manner in order for it to be successful, or letting it slip into the realms of an expensive hobby.
1. Create a separate workspace
Make sure that you have a separate home office or area for working so that you can keep all your paperwork and work related items in one place. This helps to shut off at the end of the work day rather than having bits and pieces all over the place. It is important to let other household members know that this is your sacred space and not to be interfered with on pain of death!!
2. Get organized
The amount of time it takes to get organised in the first place will repay itself tenfold (or much more) further down the line. Get files and organise a filing system for your workspace. Clear away non-essential items that are causing unnecessary clutter. Make sure you have all the necessary items for doing your work close to hand to save time hunting in the back of cupboards and drawers. Treat your workspace with the importance it deserves. Remember, you are running a business, not a hobby.
3. Define your working hours
One of the biggest failings of women running a home business is not setting working hours. This results in either working a straight 15 (or more) hours with no break or working intermittently and fitting in household chores between work tasks that distract and disrupt the workflow. Firstly, determine when you are most productive and then at what times you need to be available to clients. Decide how many hours you are going to work each day and stick to this!
Running your own business from home gives you the flexibility to decide when you are going to work and it doesn’t have to be all in one chunk like a traditional 9 to 5 job. You may want to do a few hours in the morning, take the afternoons off and then do a few more hours in the evening. Having some sort of structure to your day can make you much more productive than just working on an ad hoc basis.
4. Have a support network
Constantly talking to yourself and losing your grip with what is going on in the outside world is all too easy when working from home which can easily lead to losing your motivation. Make sure you remove yourself from your home once in a while to network with others to make new contacts, pick up new ideas and realise you are not alone.
5. Get into a routine
Having a routine and putting some structure into your day can make you so much more productive. Create a monthly, weekly and daily routine where possible. Block outset days/hours for marketing, admin, checking the finances, networking, calling new prospects etc. Have set hours for checking emails and social media so that you don’t keep dipping in and out constantly which will take up far more time in the long run and keep distracting you from your key work.
6. Plan your work
The old adage goes ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’ and this is so true when running a home business. If you just get up each morning with no clear plan of what you intend to do for the day, you are likely to dip in and out of different tasks with no clear direction and end up not getting a lot actually completed.
At the end of each day set out your three priority tasks for the next day. Make sure one of these is a key task that is going to take you, at least, one step closer to your end goal. When you complete these three key tasks, you can then move on to a more fun task that you love doing but isn’t high on the priority list. Working this way will help keep you motivated to complete the necessary tasks first with the reward of doing something more fun at the end.
If you find that you are not completing your three key tasks, move any unfinished item over to the next day and put a red dot next to it. If it doesn’t get completed on day 2, move it forward and add another red dot against it. If you get to any item with three red dots you have to stop everything you are doing and either just do it, delegate it to someone else who can do it or delete it as it simply cannot be that important.
7. Take time out
Working from home can become all-consuming and we forget to take time out to recharge and refresh ourselves. We keep trying to squeeze in just a bit more work and then a bit more which leaves us frazzled, irritable and resentful. Schedule regular breaks from your workspace to do something non-work related such as going for a walk, reading a book or going out to lunch with a friend. As they say, ‘a change is as good as a rest’.
8. Schedule family time
A danger of running a business from home is starting to neglect your family. Just because you are at home and they can see you, doesn’t mean that you are spending time with them if you are constantly working. Make sure you set out your working hours and allocate time out each week to focus purely on the family. No taking calls or dipping into emails. What is the point of working so hard if you can’t have some quality time with the ones you love?
9. Set expectations with family
When running a home business, it really can become a struggle balancing your business with having family around. To help ease frustrations, set expectations with your family. Set yourself specific working hours and let your family know that during these hours you will be working.
If you work from a separate room let them know that if the door is closed, you are not to be disturbed unless in an emergency. Also, extend this to friends so they know they cannot just pop in for a coffee and a chat when they feel like it. You need to be able to communicate with friends and family so they understand that just because you work from home does not make your work any less important than if you were out working for a large corporation.
10. Have fun!
It is all too easy to get so caught up in the nitty-gritty of our business that we start to lose the passion and forget the fun we had in starting up. Recapture the passion and love for your business by taking some time to have fun. This is both by booking time out and also looking for ways to have fun in your business day. If you can start to enjoy it again, you gain more energy and the creative juices start to flow once again.
Follow these tips for running your home business and if you have any tips of your own, please share them in the comments box below.